Sometimes it can be hard to outrun your past — and from time to time it can take you out flat. Such is the case in Elementary‘s latest episode, “A Burden in Blood,” where the children of an infamous serial killer are put to the test. When the Triborough Killer’s daughter winds up dead, suffocated with a plastic bag in the front seat of her car, Sherlock, Joan, and Marcus are left scratching their heads. The discovery of a frantic voice recording on the woman’s phone, an unexpected pregnancy, and signs of a break-in only complicate the matter further.
Careful searching leads the trio from pitstop to pitstop, interviewing family, friends, lovers, and the woman’s husband, none of whom seem to be a perfect match for the killer’s profile, but whom the trio investigate all the same (no stone unturned, right?). Was it the woman’s husband, a man incensed over the fact that his wife was having a child with her lover? The jealous boyfriend, nervous that his own wife would find out? Or was it someone else altogether — someone no one expected from the outset of the tangled case, the woman’s brother?
The evidence in this one isn’t so tricky, since there’s plenty of it. In fact, if anything, it’s the motive that’s giving Sherlock a rough go. As so often is the case, Sherlock is forced to rely on his own finely-tuned powers of observation and curiosity to suss out the name of the woman’s killer (which has been ever so conveniently scrawled across the back of an old photograph), and by episode’s end, the modus operandi — a brother and sister, slow-burning suicide pact gone wrong — ends up being a whole lot more tragic than anyone could have believed. Who knew that the bonds of sibling loyalty could stretch this far?
Simmering in the wings of “Burden in Blood” is a plucky side plot concerning Marcus’ attempts at securing a promotion gives viewers something to chew on when the main story begins losing steam. Working out the weak spots in his skillset and resume with Joan and Sherlock, Marcus eventually manages to make himself interesting once again, rather than plodding alongside the consultants and making snappy comments — a trap that his character has fallen into one too many times in the past two seasons.
While there’s something to be said about Sherlock’s willingness to play awkward teacher in this week’s “Blood,” the episode in general fails to pick up any real momentum. For all intents and purposes, Joan functions as a forgettable one-line delivery artist, and even Captain Gregson seems to be a little on the withered side. Part of that could simply be attributed to the fact that it was a filler episode – and filler episodes tend to be either totally remarkable or boring as hell. (This one, in case you weren’t asleep by this point, is the latter.)
With all the imaginative story arcs Elementary has graced us with this season, a snooze-worthy episode like “Burden in Blood” was bound to crop up at some point. Let’s just up that it’s a passing fad.